Morning/Mourning Pages

Monday, July 03, 2017, by Kashay Webb

I wanted to talk about something that clears my mind and I can’t live without. It is called Morning (Mourning) pages. Every single morning as soon as I wake up, (literally I wake up and 3 seconds after I grab my journal) I write for three pages straight, no stopping, all the thoughts that come to my mind. You see, this is not your typical journal. There’s no, “Dear Diary….Sincerely, Kashay.” There isn’t flexibility in when or if I write these pages. There isn’t erasing, crossing out, or editing. I write them daily, as soon as I wake up, no filter, and they are not always pretty. Sometimes there isn’t even enough light outside for me to see what I am writing or if I am writing on the lines of the journal, but I do it anyway. Every day. At least three pages. No excuses. I can thank Julia Cameron, author of The Artist’s Way, for the idea.

 Why do I do this every morning? At first, writing as soon as I got up and three pages at that, was very difficult. I would find excuses for why I should not do them. But once I became dedicated and disciplined to do them, they were life changing. Usually what I think/ write about in the morning are my predominant thoughts. Thoughts that dominate your mind are not always good thoughts. The morning pages give me a chance to take those thoughts, make them a bit more tangible, and dispose of them just as easily as they come to me. This is the “mourning” part of the pages, shedding those negative thoughts that creep into our brains so easily and become a fixed part of how we think, and making room for new, better thoughts to replace them.

Everything I write in my morning pages isn’t negative. Sometimes just by forcing myself to write and observe my thoughts, I get inspiration or a new perspective or solution to a current problem I am facing. This is the crux of the morning pages. You do them as soon as you wake up, before you have time to decide that this is not worth observing your thoughts. 3 pages is a good medium for writing them, not too short that you don’t get anything out of it and not too long to the point where the task is drawn out.

The morning pages are meant to force you to observe what kind of thoughts you are thinking, dispel the negative ones (because you do not need them), and make space for inspiring, creative, life-affirming, and new thoughts to come to you. I have been writing morning pages for two years and it has helped decrease a lot of stress and anxiety, clear thoughts and beliefs that I do not want to continue believing in, reflect on my current lifestyle, and come up with solutions to problems that I may not have if I did not force myself to write extensively about the problem. If I skip a day because I am out of town or spent a night at a friend’s house and forgot my journal, I feel very strange. At this point, it is a way of life for me. It is a small life change that takes about 15 minutes in the morning and could be a way to get a handle reoccurring thoughts you do not want or to reinforce thoughts you do want. I hope that this was helpful, since that is what this blog is for. Who couldn’t use a free, practical, personal way to deal with stress, anxiety, blockages, etc.? 😊